They include Oscar Wilde and Captain Scott, Bram Stoker (and yes, enough to visit Transylvania) as well as Agatha Christie (I’ve sailed past the hotel in Egypt where Christie wrote Death on the Nile). But how amazing to think that these legendary figures had a part to play in local history.
On the 23rd and 24th July, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s (RBKC) most famous residents will be brought to life during a couple of free cycling tours.
Saturday 23rd July is a family day. An actor will recount the history behind some of the local Blue Plaques, such as those dedicated to Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows, and Sir Edward Henry, a super-sleuth responsible for introducing police dogs to the Met.
On Sunday 24th July, adult cyclists will enjoy racier stories about Oscar Wilde and bohemian artist Augustus John, as well the tragedies that befell Mark Twain and George Elliott.
A free Blue Plaque Tour App is also being launched this weekend for those who prefer to do the tours when it suits them. It can be downloaded from www.bikeminded.org.uk (as of 23 July 2011). Tours last around two hours.
Saturday 23 July – Family Tour – FREE: Arrive at 09.50am (for 10.00am departure) outside St Mary Abbot’s School, W8 5SA. Bring your own bike or hire one from nearest docking station: Kensington Church St. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Sunday 24 July – Adult Tour – FREE: Arrive at 09.50am (for 10.00am departure) outside Gloucester Road Underground Station, SW7. Bring your own bike or hire one from nearest docking station: Gloucester Road.
ps. This is my favourite line in The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed: click here.